Failed self-Install of the the F-Sport Stabilizer Sway Bar Set in my 2008 IS 350

I’ve had my F-sport sway bars for my 2008 IS 350 for over a month now.  I had read how easy it was to install on http://my.is and http://clublexus.com.  However, I have not been able to do it on my how.

After my F-sport sway bars arrived, my first attempt in putting them into my 2008 IS 350 was on February 18th.  It was 70 degrees that day so I attempted it at work:

My IS 350's rear on blitz ramps ready to start the installation

Here’s a couple shots of under the car:

View of the under-side of the car to the frontView of underneath the car, left rear tire looking to the right rear

But I couldn’t get these parts (links?) off

The left rear link for the sway barThe right rear link the sway bar is connected to

Next I tried to do the front sway bar install:

The front, under engine cover view of the 2008 IS 350

I got the under engine covers off (and like an idiot, didn’t pay attention to what went where):
The engine under cover removedclose up view of the removed engine cover with (not all) of the screws in (and I'm sure not all where they properly belong)I think this is the oil filter cover

Views under the vehicle with the under covers removed:

View of under the IS 350 with the engine removed from the middle of the right side to the front left tiredView under the IS 350 (with the engine under cover removed) - from the front looking back

Again, I couldn’t get the front sway bar links off either:

The front left sway bar link of the IS 350 I couldn't get offThe front right sway bar link of the IS 350 that I couldn't get off

I stopped on my way home at Advance Auto Parts and picked up PB Blaster.  I was talking to the person who worked there and explaining what I was trying to do.  He was familiar from his other job as a tech at Mazda and told me I would also need an allen wrench and Vice grips.  I wasn’t sure if I did but I was up for trying anything.

I went home and set up the garage:

The IS 350 rear on ramps in my garage with some of the items I'm using for the install

My cousin came over tohelp me.  We soaked the links with PB Blaster and waited and tried again to pull off.  On the left link, we were able to loosen but on the right we still couldn’t. But even with it loose, we couldn’t pull it off.  I would discover later that day on how exactly you were supposed to use the Allen Wrench.  Here are some pics:

At this point we gave up.  I drove the car off the ramps and then came back on from the front and soaked the front links too. The plan was to let it soak overnight and try early in the morning so we left the engine under cover off.  Unfortunately we didn’t get up in time and later in the morning I had an alignment scheduled at a performance shop so I went straight there.  While there, I asked the tech for a quote and was given a price of $80 an hour, 1-2 hours for each sway bar.

Unfortunately the rest of the day and weekend we didn’t have a chance to try again.  A few days later I had an overseas vacation for almost 2 weeks (and my car stayed in the garage during this time).

Finally, yesterday (3/13) in the evening my cousin and we tried again just on the rear sway bar.  The rear right link finally was able to come off now too but again, even with our knowledge of using the allen wrench, we still couldn’t get it off.  My cousin get a lot of the link out but it hit a point where it wouldn’t come out any further and he couldn’t even tighten it.

Left rear sway bar link showing the rubber messed with
Right rear sway bar link showing the rubber messed with

Something I’m worried about is us messing with the rubber and what effect it could have (thought the allen wrench slot was there):

I’m also a little worried about the couple weeks now I’ve been driving without an engine under cover.

And lastly, I’m worried about any of the screws/bolts I may have lost from the engine under cover.

UPDATE:

I went today to get the sway bars put in by IAG Performance.  It was much shorted than expected and I was charged for 2 hours, $158 total but I’m pretty sure it took less.  (I think somewhat over an hour into it the tech had asked me if I wanted the old sway bars in the trunk.  Then a little later I noticed my car just sitting there with paperwork on it, then later I saw it go for the test drive and another delay until I finally got it.)

I think not even 45 minutes into the install is when the tech got the front sway bar in.  He had me come out and he showed me around under the car for a bit.

Under the 2008 IS 350 after the front sway bar was installed (before the engine under cover was put back on)

In the back (where we mainly worked out of) he told me about the air-something he used which made it easy.  He said it was all about the tools you had.  He noticed how the left and right rear sway bar links were loosened and the right was even almost out but we got stuck on the rust at the end of the bot.

He also showed me the rear sway bar links that had leaked some of the lubrication through the rubber.  This was something my cousin and I had messed up during our attempt at the install.

The rear left sway bar link leaking some of the lubricationThe rear right sway bar link leaking lubrication

He told me that if I was to get new links, for a tech there to replace them would be 30 minutes to an hour. Maybe this is something I could at least do myself.

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